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As Serbs once again take to the streets, S&Ds continue to urge investigation into election fraud claims

Date

18 Jan 2024

Sections

InfoSociety

Today, the European Parliament debates the dire situation in Serbia after elections were marred by serious fraud claims. The Socialists and Democrats requested this discussion to call for an independent investigation into all reported irregularities and to support thousands of Serbs taking to the streets demanding justice, democracy and a European future.

Andreas Schieder, S&D MEP and member of the European Parliament’s election observation mission, said:

“The long-time president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his ruling SNS Party, should finally engage with the people taking to the streets to protest, instead of acting against their interests and attacking international observers. They should tackle reported electoral irregularities without hesitation, stop the disinformation campaign and refrain from false accusations.

“Vote buying and theft, bussing voters to Belgrade, the hate speech in the campaign, harassment of journalists and civil society, biased media, misuse of administrative resources, possible Russian or other foreign malign interference and manipulation - these are extremely worrying reports of electoral fraud that call for an independent investigation.

“There is no doubt that the political crisis in Serbia - a candidate to become an EU member state - requires our full attention.”

Tonino Picula, S&D spokesperson for foreign affairs, added:

“361 international observers from 45 countries have assessed that the recent elections in Serbia were unfair, with numerous breaches of democratic principles and election rules. What is more, these were the third parliamentary elections in three and a half years. All this leads to a conclusion that in Serbia, the elections are used as a tool to create an emergency state and uphold the autocratic rule of the president.

“This is not only a debate on the latest elections in Serbia, but also on the EU’s relationship with Serbia and the entire Western Balkans, as the stability of Vučić’s regime reflects instability of other countries in the region, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo. It is also worth mentioning that in Serbia, there is a growing polarisation regarding the EU, while the support for Putin’s Russia remains high.

“For all these reasons, we reaffirm our strong belief that to enable a better and European future for the region, the EU must stop its appeasement politics towards Vučić and ensure that Serbia, as the biggest country in the region, fully assumes its responsibility for stability and peace in the Western Balkans.”

 

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